Monday, December 7, 2015

Meatless Monday - Spicy Broccoli and Sun Dried Tomato Pasta

A woman was discussing her neighbor’s take on his vegetarian diet at the show the other day. She told me that he said it was mostly broccoli and tomatoes and that it wasn’t very exciting. Needless to say I started thinking of ways to make those two foods exciting, not just for him but because they are a couple of my favorite foods. They always have been, even when I ate meat. I hope she gave him the link to this blog so he can try making this dish and add a little spice to his diet.

Spicy Broccoli and Sun Dried Tomato Pasta by Future Relics Pottery
Spicy Broccoli and Sun Dried Tomato Pasta

½ pound dried pasta, spirals or bow-tie are best but whatever you have will work
5 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
5 garlic cloves
¼ teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
4 medium, tightly packed florets), chopped into bite-sized pieces
½ cup oil-packed sun-dried tomatoes, drained and chopped
2 to 3 ounces goat cheese, crumbled while still cold (around ½ cup)
cup coarsely grated Parmesan cheese
15 pitted kalamata olives, chopped optional
½ small lemon, juiced


1 Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Add the pasta to the boiling water and cook until al dente, as directed on the package instructions. Remove the pot from heat and ladle/pour about 1 cup of the pasta water in a heat resistant measuring cup or small pitcher. Drain the pasta colander and let it rest, covered.

2 In a large cast-iron skillet, heat 3 tablespoons of olive oil over medium-low heat. When the oil is hot, add the red pepper flakes and garlic and cook, stirring constantly, until the garlic begins to simmer. Cook for about 30 seconds more to infuse the oil with spicy, garlicky flavor, but do not let the garlic brown. Pour and scrape the seasoned oil into another small, heatproof bowl and set aside. 

3 Return the pan to the stove. Add 2 tablespoons olive oil and heat over medium-low until shimmering. Add the broccoli. Cook, stirring occasionally, until the broccoli has shrunk to a single layer in the pan and turned bright green, and most have some browning on them (about ten minutes). You actually want the browning on the broccoli for flavor, don’t skimp on the cooking time.

4 Add the sun-dried tomatoes to the pan. Measure out cup pasta water (reserve the rest for later) and pour it into the pan. Cover the pan with its lid and continue cooking until the water has simmered down to almost nothing, about 15 to 30 seconds. Uncover and remove the pan from heat.

5 Add the drained pasta to the pan and drizzle in all of the infused oil. Stir well to coat the broccoli, then add the goat cheese and most of the Parmesan cheese. Stir until everything is well distributed. Add another 1 to 2 tablespoons pasta water, the chopped olives and lemon juice, and stir until the goat cheese loosens up and gets creamier. Add a tablespoon more pasta water or additional goat cheese if you'd like it to be more creamy. If it seems dry at all, add a little splash of olive oil and mix well. 
6 Serve immediately, garnished with the remaining Parmesan.

Check out the gallery page - Future Relics Gallery by Lori Buff

Friday, December 4, 2015

Decatur Holiday Marketplace and Cafe

This weekend is the Decatur Holiday Marketplace and Cafe at the Clairemont School in Decatur, GA. It’s a fun and festive show with lots of great opportunities to find unique, handcrafted gifts for everyone on your list. Plus, the cafe has some really delicious soups and baked goods. All handcrafted also. Plus the proceeds go to the school’s PTA which is a very good cause.


Friday December 4, 5:30 - 9:30 pm
Saturday, December 5, 10 am - 5 pm

This is an indoor event with free parking or paid premium parking.

Check out the gallery page - Future Relics Gallery by Lori Buff

Thursday, December 3, 2015

Mindful Holiday Shopping

You may have seen a picture or two going around the internet that tells people that buying cheap, mass produced products from China that are made in sweat shops is not really a great way to show someone how much you care. Sometimes it feels contradictory to me to be a maker and also be someone who is anti-stuff. But I am and I have had to justify it to myself.

In the interest of full disclosure, I need to start off saying how much I love making pots. I create them because I love them. My opinion might be a bit bias because of this love of creating pottery.

I also love sharing my pottery with people. I love how happy it makes them when they think something I have made is beautiful. I enjoy the connection when a customer sees something I think is pretty and they feel the same about it. I believe that lives are enriched by having beautiful things around us.

People occasionally worry about breaking pottery if they use it but I always tell them that I doubt they will break the piece. They care about it, they picked it out, they thought it was beautiful, they paid more for it then they would a mass produced product and it has meaning for them. The owner of that piece of pottery will be more likely to be careful with it. They will be more mindful of how they move while holding that piece and how they move around that piece. Being mindful, even if it’s almost unconsciously is a good way to be.

Salt Fired Ceramic Pitcher by Lori Buff
Salt Fired Pitcher

When I create my pots I think of them being used everyday. I put a little bit of myself into every piece I make. The person who uses that pot connects with me on some level each time the pot is used or enjoyed.  You’re not going to find that connection with something that is mass produced by slave labor in another country.

Several days ago I worked my shift at The Collective where I sell my pottery. A woman came in and spent over an hour looking for the perfect gift for a coworker. She cared about this person and wanted to give her something meaningful, something that showed she cared. I suspect the recipient will care about that gift and the giver for many, many years.

Check out the gallery page - Future Relics Gallery by Lori Buff

Wednesday, December 2, 2015

Kiln Load

I could have gotten a few more mugs in if I had planned this load a little better.

Bisque kiln full of Penland Auction Mugs by Lori Buff
Kiln Full of Mugs

Oh well, I’ll do better on the next load.

Check out the gallery page - Future Relics Gallery by Lori Buff

Monday, November 23, 2015

Meatless Monday - Barley and Roasted Cauliflower with Almonds

Whole grains tend to be quite delicious and can add wonderful flavor and health benefits to our food. We are used to seeing them in breads and cereals but they are less commonly used in dinners. That’s one of the reasons I love using them in dishes that I am going to share with friends and family. I serve them something delicious and unusual.

I like the nutty taste of barley because it complements many different vegetables and is wonderful on it’s own. But I also like it for is similarities to pasta in texture. It’s like a comfort food that you may never have tasted. It’s also got more health benefits than pasta but don’t let that scare you off. Bring this dish to your next pot luck and your friends will thank you.

Barley and Roasted Cauliflower with Almonds by Lori Buff
Barley and Roasted Cauliflower with Almonds


4 Tbs olive oil
1 small onion, thinly sliced
2 - 3 crushed garlic cloves
1 1/4 cups uncooked barley (I used purple barley)
3 cups vegetable broth
1 cauliflower, stems trimmed, cut into small florets (substitute broccoli or brussle sprouts)
1/3 cup chilled butter, diced
1/3 cup almonds, coarsely chopped
1 tbsp Sherry vinegar
Finely grated rind and juice of ½ lemon

Garnish with chopped flat-leaf parsley and mint


  • Heat 2 Tbs oil in a saucepan over medium-high heat, add onion and garlic and fry until tender (4-5 minutes). Add barley, stir to coat, then add broth and 1 cup water. Bring to a boil. Cover with a lid, reduce heat to low and cook until barley is tender and stock is absorbed (1-1¼ hours). Remove from heat and stand covered to steam for 15 minutes.
  • Meanwhile, preheat oven to 400 degrees and toss cauliflower with remaining oil in a bowl and season to taste. Spread on an oven tray lined with baking paper and roast, stirring occasionally, until tender and golden (45-50 minutes).
  • Cook butter in a saucepan over high heat, swirling pan occasionally, until nut brown (4-5 minutes). Remove from heat and stir in almonds, vinegar, rind and juice. Toss the barley, cauliflower and almonds together in a serving bowl, top with parsley and/or mint leaves and serve. 

Check out the gallery page - Future Relics Gallery by Lori Buff

Thursday, November 19, 2015

Callanwolde Annual Holiday Clay Sale and Show

One of the many nice things about being an assistant at Callanwolde Fine Arts Center is that I get to participate in the Annual Holiday Clay Sale and Show with the other assistants, the teachers,  and the director, Glenn Dair.

If you are in the area you should really come to the event.  You’ll get an opportunity to see and purchase some really amazing ceramics.

Preview reception is Friday, Nov 20, 2015 from 7pm - 10pm
Show is Saturday, Nov 21 and Sunday Nov 22, 2015 from 10am - 5pm

Callanwolde Fine Arts Center
980 Briarcliff Rd
Atlanta, GA  30306
Get directions

Check out the gallery page - Future Relics Gallery by Lori Buff

Wednesday, November 18, 2015

Shimpo VL Lite vs Speedball ShimpClay Boss

If you’re looking for a low priced potter’s wheel you’ll find the Shimpo VL Lite and the Speedball Clay Boss among others in the under $1000 price range. When you look at the specs you might start to wonder which would be the best value for the money.  I’ve used both and have some thoughts on them that might help you make a decision.

Both wheels are pretty light weight for a pottery wheel. The Shimpo is about 50 pounds while the Clay Boss is 66. So if you can pick up a box of clay you can pick up one of these wheels.  This is a nice feature if you have a reason to move the wheel frequently. If you do demonstrations at multiple locations or if you need to move it for cleaning or storage it’s a great feature. If you don’t need it to be light weight then it’s just nice when you first take delivery.

 Both wheels have a 1/2 horse power motor.  The Clay Boss claims a 100 pound centering capacity vs 25 on the Shimpo. I can’t center that much clay all at once. Honestly, I’ve never tried and have no desire to do so. Ten pounds is about the max I’m comfortable working with. The funny thing is that the Shimpo seems to handle that amount of clay with ease where the Clay Boss seems like it’s laboring under the strain.

Lori Buff of Future Relics Gallery testing the Shimpo VL Lite pottery wheel
Testing the Shimpo VL Lite

The Shimpo  has a 12” alloy wheel head that is drilled to accommodate bat pins. The Clay Boss has a 14” composite wheel head that will also accommodate bat pins. I prefer the alloy but I haven’t found anything really wrong with the composite. Both are fine for throwing off the wheel head with the composite having the advantage of not getting your slip black. I know the color burns out in the kiln and washes off your hands so it’s no big deal. The larger wheel head is also nice if you plan to make large platters on this wheel.

Shimpo makes the quietest electric wheels I’ve found. The VL lite is super quiet which is nice when teaching or listening to music or podcasts. The Clay Boss is about as loud as most other wheels that are working properly.

The foot pedal on the Clay Boss that I have used is a bit sticky. I’m not sure how easy it would be to adjust it. The Shimpo pedal worked well right out of the box.

The Clay Boss has a small and shallow splash pan. This doesn’t bother me, I throw pretty dry but not everyone does. Many new potters may find themselves flooding the pain quickly. Shimpo includes a full size splash pain with the VL Lite.  You can still fill it up, it just takes longer. Both are two piece, removable splash pans.

The Shimpo usually costs a couple hundred more than the Clay Boss but to me it feels like a more solid wheel that will last longer. However, it’s really hard to find a used VL Lite but it is pretty easy to find a used Clay Boss. So if you have to think about the cost, the Clay Boss may be the more affordable option. If money isn’t a great concern I’d recommend the Shimpo.

Check out the gallery page - Future Relics Gallery by Lori Buff

Monday, November 16, 2015

Meatless Monday - Roasted Fennel and Carrot Soup with Flatbreads

Many years ago I read Bella Tuscany by Fraces Mayes. You may know her name from the movie or book Under the Tuscan Sun. Both books are memoirs of her journey into home ownership and life in Italy. One thing I remember distinctly about Bella Tuscany was her disruption of the fragrance of roasting fennel. A good author, when describing food, will always make me have cravings. After reading the book I fell in love with roasted fennel. Yes, it tastes as delicious as it smells.

Roasted Fennel and Carrot Soup with Flatbreads by Lori Buff
Roasted Fennel and Carrot Soup with Flatbreads


1 pound carrots, peeled, trimmed and sliced
2 bulbs of fennel, trimmed and sliced, tops reserved to serve
1 onion, sliced
Olive oil
2 cloves of garlic, unpeeled
6 cups vegetable stock
1/2 cup cream, to serve

1 tsp fennel seeds
3 cups bread flour
1/2 tsp fast-action dried yeast
1 tsp sugar
1 tbsp olive oil, plus extra for shaping

Put the carrots, fennel and onion in a roasting dish and toss with 2 tablespoons of olive oil. Roast for 20 minutes at 400 degrees, then add the garlic cloves. Stir everything thoroughly and return to the oven for 20 minutes more, until the vegetables are soft and browned. Remove the papery skins from the garlic cloves.

Put the roasted veggies in a large pan with the vegetable stock and bring to a boil. Simmer gently for 15 minutes, then liquify with a stick blender, until completely smooth.

Next make the flatbreads. Toast the fennel seeds in a dry frying pan for 30 seconds or so, until fragrant. Crush roughly with a pestle and mortar, then pour into a bowl with the flour and ½ teaspoon of salt. Dissolve the yeast and sugar in 1/2 cup of hot but not boiling water, then add it to the flour mixture with the oil and 1/4 cup of hot water and mix until you have a soft, but not sticky, dough, add more water a little at a time if you need it to create the correct consistency. Knead for 5 minutes.

Pop the dough into an oiled bowl, cover with a tea towel and set aside to rise in a warm place for 30 minutes. Then, with oiled hands, divide the dough into 8 pieces and roughly roll each one into a thin oval. Stack them up, separating them with parchment paper to stop them from sticking together.

Heat a griddle pan until it’s smoking hot and add the flatbreads (you’ll need to do this in batches). Cook for a couple of minutes on each side, until charred and puffed up. Keep warm in a tea towel while cooking the rest.

Gently reheat the soup, and serve with a swirl of cream, a scattering of fennel tops and the hot flatbreads.

Check out the gallery page - Future Relics Gallery by Lori Buff

Friday, November 13, 2015

Art Visions At Paideia School

Once again I’ll have my pottery at Paidea School’s Art Visions Fine Art and Craft Show. I’m always pleased to be invited to this show because the volunteers who run it do such a good job and it’s a nice fund raiser for the school’s art program. You might remember me writing my thoughts about The Importance of Arts Programs for Kids.  Yes, it’s a cause that I feel is important.

What you’ll find:

An artist market featuring the works of local and regional artists

  • Offering affordable art during the holiday season in all mediums
  • Fine art, decorative art including Hanukkah and Christmas gift items, ornaments, garden art, folk art, funky and functional art in all mediums
  • Annual fundraiser for Paideia art programs
  • Admission and parking are free
Saturday Nov 14, 2015 10am - 5pm
Sunday Nov 15, 2015 12pm - 5pm

Location: Art Lobby & Practice Gym (Near the corner of Oakdale and South Ponce de Leon)
Check out the gallery page - Future Relics Gallery by Lori Buff

Wednesday, November 11, 2015

Raku Firing

We had a slight break in the rain a few days ago. It was very welcome even though the sun never did shine, it was still nice to be able to get outside. So when a friend of mine asked if I wanted to do a quick raku firing I jumped at the chance. I had a few pots all ready to go so I grabbed them and dashed out the door.
Horse Hair Raku pot by Lori Buff
Horse Hair Raku

The firing went along without a hitch. We got some pots fired we were both very happy with the results. Plus it didn’t rain on us. What could be better?

Thanks kiln gods.

Check out the gallery page - Future Relics Gallery by Lori Buff

Tuesday, November 10, 2015

ARTucker is a Community Art Show

When ARTucker was first being planed it’s primary goal was to bring the community together through art. Patty Young, the event’s organizer enjoys the exchange of ideas and creative energy that comes when arts hang out together. So she created an event where artists could get together and visit each other as well as share our work with the community of Tucker, GA. She has accomplished just that.

People came out to see and support the artists and the artists came out to share our works with the community and each other.  Creative and business ideas where shared, artwork was discussed, music was played. We were singing and dancing in the halls. It was a party.

I was doing pottery throwing demonstrations and had a great time. I even came up with a new concept thanks to a question by a child. It’s funny where inspiration comes can be found. I think lots of folks enjoyed the demos.

Pottery Throwing Demonstrations by Lori Buff of Future Relics Gallery
Pottery Throwing Demonstrations

It sounds like the community would like even more Georgia artists to be a part of the next event. We might have to take over a few class rooms in the years to come.

Check out the gallery page - Future Relics Gallery by Lori Buff

Monday, November 9, 2015

Meatless Monday - Malaysian Fried Rice Noodles

Dishes made from pasta or rice tend to be great comfort food. As the weather gets colder and the sunlight dwindles we tend to seek more comfort foods which makes this a great recipe for this time of the year, however, you may want to bookmark it because it’s quick, easy, and delicious all year long.

I used Vietnamese Brown Rice Noodles by Happy Pho that I found on a trip to Whole Foods. I’m sure any rice noodles would work. If you’re not trying to avoid gluten you’ll still find these noodles delicious or you could simply use any long flat noodle you have on hand.

Malaysian Fried Rice Noodles by Future Relics Gallery
Malaysian Fried Rice Noodles


1 (15oz) brown rice noodles
5 garlic cloves, finely minced
2-3 small shallots, finely sliced
1 green onion (white part), thinly sliced
1 large handful (about 4 – 5 oz) mung bean sprouts
1 large handful shiitake or wild mushrooms
1 tbs light soy sauce
1 tbs oyster sauce
2 tbs thick caramel sauce (for color)
Pinch of salt & white pepper or to taste
Pinch of sugar
1 green onion (green part), thinly sliced


Separate Noodles: In a large bowl, add warm water and place the rice noodles in it. This is to help the noodles separate easily. After 5-10 minutes, with the noodles still in the water, gently press the noodles to separate them.

Fry Noodles: Over medium high heat, fry the shallots and green onions. Once it turns light brown, add the garlic. Once they turn brown and become fragrant, add the mushrooms. Fry for 30 seconds and add the noodles.

5. Add the soy sauce, oyster sauce, thick caramel sauce, salt, white pepper and sugar. Stir to combine well. Add the bean sprouts and stir again. Taste and adjust seasoning if needed. Once bean sprouts have wilted a little and are cooked, dish out and top noodles with green onion. Serve with sliced red chilies if you want some heat.

Check out the gallery page - Future Relics Gallery by Lori Buff

Friday, November 6, 2015

ARTucker 2015 This Friday and Saturday

This past spring my friend and brilliant collage artist Patty Young organized ARTucker at the Tucker Rec Center. The idea was to make a show of some terrific art, set the show price to be affordable for the artists and bring the community together. She was wildly successful as evidenced by the outcry from artists and patrons alike to repeat the event in the Fall. I'm very proud to say that I am fortunate enough to be a part of this event once again.
ARTucker Fall 2015
ARTucker Fall Flyer

I'll be doing demos, selling my pottery and talking to folks about ceramics classes at the rec center. Maybe I'll even pick up another student or two.

The event is held inside the rec center so you can enjoy the art no matter the weather. Come on by and see what local artists are creating.  We will be there Friday Nov 6, 2015 from 6pm - 9pm, and Saturday Nov 7, 2015 from 10am - 6pm.

Tucker Recreational Center
4898 LaVista Road, Tucker, GA
Tucker, GA 30084
View Map | Get Directions

 More Stuff:

ARTucker 2015 – The Art Movement Has Arrived

Check out the gallery page - Future Relics Gallery by Lori Buff

Wednesday, November 4, 2015

Eutectic Gallery: Contemperary Ceramics Visit

What’s the best thing to do when you have a large project and a deadline? Run away of course. At least that’s how I handled the situation. Actually, the trip to Portland, Oregon was planed before the Penland mug project was definite but it was very nice to get away for a few days and come back to the mugs refreshed.

One of the things we did while in Portland was visit the Eutectic Gallery: Contemporary Ceramics which is hosting two really great shows right now. In the main gallery they have an exhibit titled "Pattern" which showcases some well known artist who do some great work with surface decoration. A trip to the gallery shows you some very beautiful pieces by Adam Field, Kat Hutter & Roger Lee, Forrest Lesch-Middelton, Roberto Lugo, Alex Matisse, Ken Standhardt, and John Vigeland.

Pattern at Eutectic Gallery

The gallery is hosting a mid-show reception on November 6, 2015 from 6 - 9pm. If you're in Portland you should stop by the Eutectic Gallery. I'm sure you'll enjoy the show.

The gallery was also hosting an event celebrating craft beers and pottery. To quote their website:
Experience the handcrafted quality of art and craft beer from both coasts, as we celebrate the growler as a functional art form. Portland Growler Company, Eutectic Gallery, Lardo,Culmination Brewing, Sixpoint Brewing (Brooklyn, NY), and Project Art (Cummington, Massachusetts) have come together to help you think about growlers in a whole new way! 15+ ceramic artists from all over the world have designed limited edition PGC growlers, plus Phoenix based artist Bradley Klem has hand thrown his take on the growlers, throwing 2 for each artist’s design.
I wasn't able to be there for the tasting event but I really enjoyed seeing the growlers and how the different artists decorated them. 

GrowlerFest 2015

That event closed on Halloween but it looks like GrowlerFest will be happening in other cities. I'm hoping they bring it to Atlanta, we have some great craft breweries here.

Check out the gallery page - Future Relics Gallery by Lori Buff

Monday, November 2, 2015

Meatless Monday - Moroccan Style Sweet Potato Salad

Sweet potatoes are in season! Actually, many root vegetables are in season right now but they don’t all need to be made into soups or used in casseroles. You can still have a fresh tasting salad with this recipe. Although this is a pretty hardy salad and could be a meal on it’s own, it would be even hardier with some cooked millet added. That would stretch the recipe also so if you’re serving it to guests or bringing it to a pot luck this is a great option.

The recipe calls for mozzarella cheese, you can leave this out to make it vegan. You might want to substitute a vegan cheese or just omit it all together, I’m sure this dish would work well without it.

Moroccan Style Sweet Potato Salad by Future Relics Gallery
Moroccan Style Sweet Potato Salad


Date Vinaigrette:
2 pitted dates, soaked in hot water for about 5 minutes
1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
1 teaspoon dijon mustard
1/2 inch fresh ginger, peeled and grated
1/2 teaspoon ground coriander
1/8 teaspoon chili flakes
1/8 teaspoon ground cinnamon

reserved date soaking water

Salad Ingredients:
1 1/2 lbs sweet potatoes, scrubbed and peeled (if desired)
2 medium carrots, peeled and diced into small pieces
2 bell peppers, seeded and diced into 3/4 inch pieces
1/2 cup cherry or grape tomatoes, cut in half
1/2 small red onion, sliced thin
8 oz mozzarella cheese, diced
1/2-1 cup cooked chickpeas
big handful of cilantro leaves, rough chopped
1 healthy sprig of mint, leaves chopped
1/4 cup shelled pistachios, chopped


Make the dressing: combine the soaked dates (reserving the water), olive oil, lemon juice, dijon mustard, chopped ginger, ground coriander, chili flakes, cinnamon, salt, and pepper in a blender. Blend on high, stopping to scrape down the sides as necessary. Add a couple spoonfuls of the date soaking water to get the blade moving, when necessary. You want it totally pureed and almost creamy.  Check the vinaigrette for seasoning, adjust, and set aside.

Place the sweet potatoes in a large pot and cover them with cold water. Place the pot over medium heat and bring to a boil. Simmer the sweet potatoes until they’re nice and tender, about 20 minutes. Drain the sweet potatoes and place them in an ice bath to cool them down quickly.

Once the sweet potatoes are cool enough to handle, cut them into 1 inch-ish pieces–kind of like how you would for a potato salad. Place cut sweet potatoes in a large bowl along with the diced carrots, bell peppers, cherry tomatoes, red onion slices, chickpeas, cilantro, and mint. Season all of the vegetables with lots of salt and pepper. Add the date vinaigrette to the bowl and toss the vegetables and chickpeas to coat. Sprinkle the chopped pistachios on top and serve.

Check out the gallery page - Future Relics Gallery by Lori Buff

Monday, October 26, 2015

Meatless Monday - Butternut Squash Lasagna

You’ve seen various takes on vegetarian lasagna.  It’s often really delicious with a nice red sauce and plenty of gooey cheeses. This version uses a traditional autumn squash as it’s variance. Plus it doesn’t have a tomato sauce so if you’re trying to avoid tomatoes for some reason this recipe will work for you, and you’ll have my deepest sympathies since I love tomatoes.

As with most lasagnas this one freezes and reheats nicely so it’ll make a quick meal a few days or weeks from now, that is if you have any leftover.

You can always prepare this a day ahead of time then just pop it in the oven or do like my mom did and make it ahead then freeze it until you’re ready to cook it. This was a brilliant idea because it made getting ready for guests just that much easier, the main course was already prepared. You might want to think about this dish for your holiday pot luck dinners. It looks beautiful in a hand crafted casserole.

Butternut Squash Lasagna by Lori Buff
Butternut Squash Lasagna


Butternut Squash Filling:

2 cups butternut squash puree (about half of squash. See instructions below))
1 cup ricotta cheese
1/2 cup milk (or more, if needed)
1/4 + 1/8 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon nutmeg

Spinach Filling:

1 cup cooked spinach (8 oz uncooked)
1 cup ricotta cheese
1 cup mozzarella cheese
2 garlic cloves, minced
1/4 teaspoon salt
pepper, to taste

Other Ingredients:

10 oz lasagna noodles, cooked (for gluten free, try brown rice lasagna noodles)
1 and 1/2 cups mozzarella cheese (or more)
1/2 cup Parmesan cheese (on top)

3-6 Cloves of garlic, minced and sautéed in olive oil


Butternut Squash Filling:
For this filling, you will need to have pre-cooked butternut squash puree. Using food processor, combine 2 cups of butternut squash puree with Ricotta cheese, milk, salt and nutmeg. Add more milk if needed (to make the butternut squash filling very creamy). Mix very well, taste and add more salt, if needed.

Spinach Filling:
Combine spinach, Ricotta cheese, mozzarella, garlic, salt and pepper. Mix, taste, and add more salt and pepper, if needed.

Cooking lasagna noodles:
Bring a very large pot of water to boil, and cook lasagna noodles according to package instructions. Rinse in cold water, drain. Using knife, trim noodles to fit your baking dish (if necessary). Alternatively you could try no cook lasagna noodles.

Lasagna assembly:
Prepare a baking dish. Grease the lasagna dish lightly with olive oil spray. Spread 1/3 of butternut squash filling on the bottom of the dish. Sprinkle lightly with mozzarella cheese and some of the garlic. Top with cooked lasagna noodles without overlapping
Spread half of spinach filling over the noodles. Top lightly with Mozzarella cheese. Top with cooked noodles.
Spread another layer (1/3) of butternut squash mixture, then sprinkle lightly with Mozzarella cheese and garlic. Top with cooked noodles.
Spread the remaining half of spinach filling over the noodles. Top lightly with Mozzarella cheese. Top with the final layer of cooked noodles.
Spread a generous amount of butternut squash filling (the remaining 1/3) over this final layer of noodles, sprinkle with grated Parmesan and remaining mozzarella cheese and garlic (about 1/2 cup of mozzarella). Generously sprinkle the cheese with oregano, paprika, basil.

Cover the baking dish with foil and bake for 30 min at 375 degrees.
Remove foil and bake additional 10 minutes.


1 Butternut Squash, medium size
 vegetable oil or oil spray


First, cook the squash to soften it. It is also easier to peel it once it’s cooked so cook it unpeeled, and peel it after it’s cooked and soft. Preheat oven to 400 Fahrenheit.

Cut the squash in 2 halves, scrape out the seeds and the fiber out of each half.
Lightly oil a backing sheet and place the squash on it cut side down.
Bake for about 30 minutes, remove it from the oven and let it cool. Flip the squash so that cut side faces up to expedite the cooling.
Once squash is cooled, peel it. The skin should come off very easily.
Cut the squash into chunks
Place butternut squash in food processor (or blender), working in batches, if necessary, and process it until very smooth and almost creamy.

Check out the gallery page - Future Relics Gallery by Lori Buff

Friday, October 23, 2015

Textured Oval Casserole

Oval pots are fun to make. They tend to be a bit of extra work because you have to make a bottom and the sides and attach the two together. That creates several opportunities for cracking in the kiln or even before the piece is fired. I don’t make many of them but when I do I normally love them.

This is the latest oval casserole I made. I throw the bottom on a plaster bat then I throw the sides. The reason for using a plaster bat is to have the plaster draw some moisture out of the clay. After a short time the bottom can be removed from the bat and thrown on a table to stretch it into a more oval shape. This creates great texture in the bottom of the casserole as long as I leave some throwing lines in the clay when I’m throwing it.

Handcrafted, ceramic oval casserole by Lori Buff
Stamped Oval Casserole

Next pull the sides into an oval and attach them to the base. This needs some good slipping and scoring and lots of compression on the join. I cover the piece with plastic and let everything sit for a day or two. This helps the moisture level in the clay become more even and helps to prevent separation and cracking. It’s not a bad thing for these pots to dry slowly.

This pot has a rolled edge that I added texture to with a stamp. I like the way the glazes played in the texture and muted it a little. I think I’ll play with this idea a bit more.

Check out the gallery page - Future Relics Gallery by Lori Buff

Wednesday, October 21, 2015

Penland Auction Mugs First Bisque Firing

The mug making has begun and is in full progress. You may remember that I’m making 500 mugs for the Penland Benefit Auction. I think I’ve gotten about 100 thrown. You can see them here in the kiln as I’m preparing to fill it for the first bisque firing.  I’ll have a few of my own pieces (pots for sale if they live) but the kiln is mostly just mugs. I don’t even have any shelves and posts in it. A big thank you to Cynthia Bringle for teaching me that trick.

Penland Auction Mugs First Bisque Firing by Lori Buff
Penland Auction Mugs in The Kiln

Cross your fingers that they all survive this firing and the glaze firing that will come next.

Check out the gallery page - Future Relics Gallery by Lori Buff

Monday, October 19, 2015

Meatless Monday - Wild Rice Pilaf with Almonds and Cauliflower

When I was first leaning how to cook I wasn’t very good at it. Actually, I was terrible and I burnt quite a few meals. The joke was that when the smoke detector went off I knew dinner was ready. The thing is, some things are really delicious with a little char. It’s why we like foods cooked on the grill or blackened. The burnt butter in this recipe adds a layer of deliciousness similar to a char from the grill.

This recipe makes a terrific dinner on it’s own but you might want to make extra because the leftovers make a great lunch or side dish. I found it to be quite a satisfying meal.

You can make the rice ahead of time and store it in the refrigerator since it takes about an hour to cook.


4 Tbs olive oil
1 small onion, thinly sliced
2 garlic cloves, finely chopped
1 1/4 cupswild rice
3 cups vegetable broth
1 cauliflower, stems trimmed, cut into small florets
1/3 cup chilled butter, diced
1/3 cup almonds, coarsely chopped
1 tbsp Sherry vinegar
Finely grated rind and juice of ½ lemon, or to taste
Garnish with chopped flat-leaf parsley and mint

Wild Rice Pilaf with Almonds and Cauliflower by Future Relics Gallery
Wild Rice Pilaf


  • Heat 2 Tbs oil in a saucepan over medium-high heat, add onion and garlic and fry until tender (4-5 minutes). Add rice, stir to coat, then add stock and 1 cup water. Season to taste and bring to the boil. Cover with a lid, reduce heat to low and cook until rice is tender and stock is absorbed (1-1¼ hours). Remove from heat and stand covered to steam for 15 minutes.
  • Meanwhile, preheat oven to 200C and toss cauliflower with remaining oil in a bowl and season to taste. Spread on an oven tray lined with baking paper and roast, stirring occasionally, until tender and golden (45-50 minutes).
  • Cook butter in a saucepan over high heat, swirling pan occasionally, until nut brown (4-5 minutes). Remove from heat and stir in almonds, vinegar, rind and juice.
  • Serve pilaf warm topped with cauliflower and herbs and drizzled with burnt butter.

Check out the gallery page - Future Relics Gallery by Lori Buff

Tuesday, October 13, 2015

The Importance of Arts Programs for Kids

Yesterday my friend Gary Rith posted this article where he mentioned how we need more after school arts programs for kids. When I started to write a comment my thoughts got too big for just a comment. I thought my feelings on Arts programs for kids needed a bigger space and more voice.

By now you’ve most likely heard the commercials and arguments about how learning music helps kids (and all people) learn math. We’ve heard the argument that learning art helps kids realize that problems can be solved multiple ways and creative thinking is good for everyone. Nobody became CEO of any company without being able to think creatively. Art education helps with that. I is far more than finger painting. It also helps keep kids in school. I know, I was one of those kids.

When I was in elementary school and junior high school (like middle school only somehow different) I didn’t like school. I came up with every excuse to avoid going, I was “sick,” or truant whenever possible. I had no reason to go to school, in my young opinion. I would have rather stayed home and read a book than go to classes. Despite all of this I was an above average student, I just didn’t like going, I wasn’t interested.
Early pottery of Lori Buff’s on Future Relics pottery blog.
Early Ceramics

Then I took an art class in 10th grade that changed everything. I had always enjoyed and even looked forward to art class but this was different. The teacher explained art theory, gave us interesting and challenging assignments, and made it fun. She cared about kids and art. I became interested in going to school.

This same teacher taught ceramics so I signed up for the class in my junior year of high school. Of course I was hooked and the rest is history. But the thing is, I didn’t want to miss a day of school because of these art classes and in the process I discovered a really great history teacher and a fantastic English teacher. I seriously enjoyed and learned from those classes too. I made certain my schedule was as filled as possible with art classes (we had a great school system) but I also learned that the other classes could be enjoyable also. School became interesting and fun. I wanted to go there. That would never had happened if budget cuts had removed the art classes.

My story is one of the main reasons I hate seeing art classes cut from the budget. What was your favorite class in school?

Check out the gallery page - Future Relics Gallery by Lori Buff

Monday, October 12, 2015

Meatless Monday - Vegetarian Hungarian Goulash

Have you ever looked for a recipe for Hungarian Goulash?  You can find a long list of different recipes that all say  “authentic.”  That’s because most stews are simply a way of making a tough cut of meat easier to eat while getting some vegetables into the diet. I suspect it was normally made with whatever was in the pantry or root cellar. So that is how I normally make it. The most important part is the paprika. I suggest that be proper Hungarian paprika, and yes, you can tell the difference.  It’s a delicious and very flavor full stew. It’s rich and hearty, serve it with some crusty bread and a good dark beer or red wine.

The veggie crumbles or quinoa in this recipe should satisfy most die-hard meat eaters, just don’t tell them.

Vegetarian Hungarian Goulash by Future Relics Pottery
Vegetarian Hungarian Goulash

Since you can cook this goulash for several hours it’s a great dish to prepare when you aren’t certain what time everyone will be home for dinner. In my opinion it gets better the longer it cooks.


2 TBS cooking oil (vegetable or olive are fine)
1 diced onion
4-5 crushed cloves of garlic
1 package ground veggie crumbles or 1-2 cups cooked quinoa
2 cups Not-Beef-Boulion or veggie bouillon
1/4 cup Hungarian paprika
1 can of diced tomatoes or the equivalent fresh if you have them
2-3 bay leaves
2-3 Hungarian peppers, diced

1 - 3 each of any of these assorted root vegetables, diced:
 potatoes, carrots, turnips, parsnips, and/or sweet potatoes.


Heat a dutch oven then turn heat to medium, add the oil followed by the onion, sauté until they start to turn translucent then add the garlic and cook for a few minutes more. Add the veggie crumbles or quinoa and cook until they start to brown, stir frequently. Add the paprika and stir to coat.

Next add the bouillon, tomatoes, and bay leaves. Let these heat until nearly boiling then add the root vegetables and bring to a boil. Let the stew boil for about a minute, add the hungarian peppers and turn the heat down to a simmer. The dutch oven should be lightly covered and the lid vented. Simmer for at least 20 minutes to 2 hours stirring occasionally. The flavors will blend best as the stew simmers. Add more water if cooking for longer.

Check out the gallery page - Future Relics Gallery by Lori Buff

Friday, October 9, 2015

Condiment Dish

One of the best times to use your handcrafted pottery, besides everyday, is when you have guests. Yes, you could put out a can of nuts, a bag of chips and a jar of salsa and call it a party. However, your guests may feel a little more special if you serve them any of these items in a nice vessel.

The design of this condiment dish is based on the relish tray my grandmother always used to serve pickles. I love pickles so I loved the dish. This piece doesn’t feel as grandmotherly as hers did but it still serves the same purpose, you can serve two items side by side and only use one dish.

Hand Made ceramic condiment dish by Lori Buff
Condiment Dish

I like it for cheese dip on one side and guacamole on the other. Or two flavors of dip for veggies or chips. It would also be terrific for nuts, say mixed nuts on one side and rosemary cashews on the other. Oh, the combinations are limited only by the imagination. What would you serve in this dish?

Check out the gallery page - Future Relics Gallery by Lori Buff

Tuesday, October 6, 2015

Penland Auction Mugs

When Penland School of Crafts holds it’s annual benefit auction they make it a weekend party for the patrons. They hold luncheons, dinner, cocktails, and even breakfast. The Breakfast in the Barns event is held in the place where the resident artists do much of their work. This gives the patrons a chance to meet the artists and discuss the art. They also get a nice, handcrafted mug for their coffee, which they take home as another memento of the occasion.

I normally volunteer for the auction and have watched the patrons look over each and every mug before making their choice. It’s really fun to watch and it is great to know how meaningful these are to people.

This year I volunteered to make the mugs for the 2016 auction breakfast. I’ll have to make 500 mugs and my goal is to make sure that the patrons have a great variety to explore. The majority will be fired in salt or soda at Penland but I’m going to make sure a few get into some kilns around me just so they can have that variation in glaze and firing type. Of course the biggest challenge is making 500 mugs that are different shapes and sizes. I will even hand build a few just to have that be part of the mix.

It’s going to be a challenge, especially considering how small my studio space is but I’m feeling like I’m up to it. It’s only 500 mugs plus a few extra just incase some get broken and all the work I have to make for holiday sales. I’ll sleep next year.

Check out the gallery page - Future Relics Gallery by Lori Buff

Monday, October 5, 2015

Meatless Monday - Charred Broccoli Salad

When I first moved out on my own I did not know how to cook. The joke was that I knew dinner was ready when the smoke detector started screaming. Things have improved drastically since those days, now when something is blackened or charred it’s because I want them that way. A little char ads a nice flavor to many dishes. This salad is a great example.


1 medium sweet potato, washed and cubed
4 Cups Broccoli florets
5 tsp olive Oil + 1 Tbsp. Coconut Oil
1/2 tsp Sea Salt
1/8 Chili Flakes
Handful Cilantro, chopped
2 Tbsp Toasted Sunflower seeds
1/2 Hot Pepper, seeded and minced
2 Tbsp. Capers
Sunflower Seed Dressing (recipe below)
Lemon Wedges, for garish


1. Heat the oven to 400 F. Combine the chopped broccoli with 3 tsp. Coconut oil, 1/4 tsp. sea salt, and chili. Roast, stirring often until nice and crispy, about 25- 30 minutes.

2. Use the remaining 2 tsp. Coconut oil on the yam slices. Sprinkle them with 1/4 tsp. sea salt and pop them in the oven once the broccoli has been roasting for about 10 minutes. Roast them for about 20 minutes, or until soft, stirring once throughout.

3. Once the veggies are nice and crispy, toss to combine them. Arrange in a bowl along with a generous helping of dressing, the chopped cilantro, chili, and sunflower seeds, as well as a slice of lemon.

4. Just prior to serving, heat the last 1 Tbsp. of oil in a small pan until hot. Gently pat the capers dry with a tea towel, and carefully place them into the hot oil, stirring to coat. Once the capers become white and crisp (about 1 minute), remove the pan from the heat and scoop out the capers (place them on a towel to drain). Sprinkle the salad with the hot capers and serve, season with salt and pepper as needed.

Sunflower Seed Dressing


1/4 Cup Olive Oil
Juice from 1 lemon
2 Tbsp. Sunflower Butter or Tahini
2 Tbsp. Liquid Sweetener of Choice (such as honey or agave)
2 Cloves Garlic
2 cm / 1 inch (or about 1 thumb sized piece of ginger)
Zest of 1 Lemon
1/8 tsp. Sea Salt
2 Tbsp. Toasted Sunflower Seeds

1. Combine the oil, lemon juice, sunflower butter, garlic, salt, and ginger in a blender and puree until smooth. Add water a tbsp. at a time to reach desired consistency. I like mine to be nice and thick, so I only added about 1 Tbsp.

2.Add the zest and the sunflower seeds and pulse to combine. Taste and adjust the seasoning if needed.  This dressing is supposed to be very thick but you can thin it with some more olive oil if you desire.
Check out the gallery page - Future Relics Gallery by Lori Buff

Tuesday, September 29, 2015

Strutting in The Rain in East Atlanta

When it rains during an art festival it usually means your day is going to stink. The festivals I’ve done on rainy days usually means either nobody comes to the show or the few people that do are looking for a great bargain. I guess they figure that the artist just wants to sell all their work and go home. Of course my pots are water tight and so is my tent so I’m just sitting in my tent chilling. At the East Atlanta Strut the crowd was pretty good for a rainy day. The people that came into my booth were wonderful. They chatted, bought pots, placed orders, and generally made it a great day.

Lori Buff’s Ceramics at the East Atlanta Strut
At the East Atlanta Strut

My Ez-up tent handled the weather pretty well.  I had given it a light coat of Scotchgard to protect it from the rain just a couple of weeks ago and I was glad I did so. It kept me dry. I felt bad for all the volunteers that were walking around in the rain but they were troopers and did a fantastic job of getting everyone into the show and set up. They are a fantastic group and I’m so glad we have people like them in my neighborhood. Besides organizing and promoting the festival they also clean any trash from the streets before and after the festival. That’s not an easy task but it makes it a nicer event for everyone.

Although sales were okay they were down from last year so I’m still looking for some more funding from you all with the promise of a nice pot as your gift. Since today is my birthday let’s give each other a gift. For more about the why’s and what’s of the funding please see this blog post:  http://futurerelicsstudio.blogspot.com/2015/09/funding-fun.html

Check out the gallery page - Future Relics Gallery by Lori Buff

Monday, September 28, 2015

Meatless Monday - Roasted Pepper Salad with Capers and Avocado

Don’t you just love roasted vegetables? Something about roasting them really brings out the best flavors. Now that summer is fading it’s cool enough for me to want to have the oven on to roast the veggies but it’s still summer enough to enjoy a good salad. Of course a salad like this would be good in the depths of winter or the hight of summer because it’s so incredibly delicious.

Seriously, you owe it to yourself to try this salad. It’s got a bit of spice but not enough to hurt you if you’re sensitive. Of course you could always try even milder peppers if you’re super sensitive to spicy foods.

Roasted Pepper Salad

Roasted Pepper Salad with Capers


2 lbs bell peppers (or other)
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
salt to taste
fresh ground black pepper to taste

1 cup (or more) halved cherry tomatoes
6 oz. fresh mozzarella, diced to yield about 1 cup
1 tablespoon capers
1/4 cup pine nuts, toasted (or substitute with almonds)
roughly chopped basil or cilantro
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
1 avocado


1. Preheat the oven to 450ºF. Cut each pepper in half through the core. Remove seeds and stem. Cut each half into three or four strips. Place strips in a large bowl. Drizzle with oil and toss to coat.

2. Arrange peppers slices, cut-side up, on a large baking sheet. Roast for 25 to 30 minutes or until peppers are tender and slightly browned on the edges — thinner peppers will cook more quickly, so start checking at 20 minutes if thin.

3. Serve warm or at room temperature or continue on and make the salad.

4. Toss together the diced peppers, halved cherry tomatoes, mozzarella, capers, toasted pine nuts, herbs, olive oil, balsamic vinegar, and avocado to taste. Taste and adjust seasoning as necessary. Enjoy.

Check out the gallery page - Future Relics Gallery by Lori Buff

Wednesday, September 23, 2015

Hand Built Pottery Cups

Even though my pots tend to be wheel thrown I do know how to handbills and that is what I’m teaching my students. Several people in the class are fairly new to clay and the others are interested in learning more techniques in hand building so that’s what I’m teaching. It’s really fun also because I’m getting to do something different. Of course I’m having so much fun I’m tempted to add a line of handbuilt pots to my repertoire.

The project for this week was to make cups. I showed the students how to use a template to mark the slab. They then cut out the form, cut beveled edges and joined the piece together. We had a nice discussion about the seam that was created at this join. About half the class does not like the seam, the other half like it and wanted to keep and embellish it.  Personally, I like the seam.  I really want my hand crafted pottery to look hand crafted; that’s the beauty of it in my mind.  I feel this beauty can be created with a nice finish, it doesn’t have to be sloppy, it just has to speak of the maker.

Handbuilt Ceramic Cups by Future Relics Gallery
Hand Built Laced Mugs

I added a few coils which made it look like the cup was laced up. I’m going to leave these two without handles and I’m going to make a couple with handles. Next week’s lesson will be on handles.

I also wanted to keep the join on the bottom very visible. Not only does it add interest to the piece but it creates an obvious place to stop glazing but the lip is a place that can catch a bit of runny glaze that might otherwise cause the pot to stick to the kiln shelf. I love it when the practical meets the beautiful. I guess that’s another reason why I make mostly functional pottery.

Anyway, I think they are really cute and intend to make more. I hope other folks like them as much as my students and I do.

In the meantime I’m still looking for a good pottery wheel for my studio space at Callanwolde Fine Arts Center. If you’d like to help with the funding and receive a nice gift please click here: http://futurerelicsstudio.blogspot.com/2015/09/funding-fun.html

Check out the gallery page - Future Relics Gallery by Lori Buff

Wednesday, September 16, 2015

Who Cooks For You?

“Who cooks for you?” He asks again and again. Somewhere off in the distance we hear an answer is heard then the call again. The next time we hear the answer it is closer. This continues until the pair is together in the large oak tree above my studio.

I love sleeping with the windows open in the cooler weather so I can listen for them. Their is something soothing in their calls. Many a night I’ve watched for them but have rarely seen them. They make no sound while in flight, you have to be searching the night sky in just the right place.

We have Red Shouldered Hawks living nearby also. The Barred Owls and hawks will often use the same nest in alternating years. I like that ease of harmony and community.

Plus owls can be incredibly cute. What could be better?

Cute pottery owl soap or sponge holder by Lori Buff
Owl Soap/Sponge Holders

These owls are quiet but they are very useful, they will hold your soap, sponge, napkin, divide cup, and probably a bunch of things I haven’t even considered yet. What would you put in one? Who cooks for you?

Other Stuff:

Bard Owls

Red Shouldered Hawks

Check out the gallery page - Future Relics Gallery by Lori Buff

Monday, September 14, 2015

Meatless Monday - Quick Vegetarian Phô

Phô is a delicious Vietnamese soup that is normally made with a very rich tasting broth and very fresh herbs and sprouts.  It’s one of those dishes that I never knew about until recently. Now I love it but the Vietnamese restaurant near me only makes it with beef broth. Oh, well, I’ll just make some at home. Besides, I have plenty of these ingredients growing in my garden so I know they’ll be as fresh as possible.

Many homemade soups take a long time to cook but this one only takes about a half an hour so it’s really convenient for a weeknight. I’ll warn you about how spicy this can get so if you don’t like hot foods make sure to remove all the seeds from the peppers.

Traditional Phô is served with bean sprouts but I accidentally picked up alfalfa sprouts at the farmer’s market. It tasted fine but the picture may look weird to you if you are very familiar with Phô.

Vegetarian Phô by Lori Buff
Vegetarian Phô


64 ounces low-sodium vegetable broth
6 green onions, thinly sliced
1 tablespoon fresh ginger, peeled and grated
1 1/2 tablespoon butter
6 ounces shiitake mushrooms, tough stems removed
1 1/2 tablespoon hoisin sauce
2 teaspoons sesame oil
14 ounces rice noodles, cooked according to package instructions
8 ounces bean sprouts
2 jalapeño peppers, thinly sliced
2 or 3 hard boiled eggs, sliced
Fresh cilantro, basil, lime wedges, hoisin sauce, and chili garlic sauce or sriracha for serving


In a large pot, combine the vegetable broth, green onions, and grated ginger. Bring to a full boil, then reduce the heat and simmer for 15 minutes.

While the broth is cooking, melt the butter in a large skillet over medium heat. Add the mushrooms and sauté for about 6 minutes, or until tender, stirring frequently. Stir in the hoisin and sesame oil and cook until the sauce thickens and coats the mushrooms, about 1 minute more. Remove from heat.

Divide the rice noodles between four to six large bowls, then fill each bowl with the ginger broth. Serve the egg slices, bean sprouts, sliced jalapeños, shiitake mushrooms, fresh basil, and cilantro on the side so each person can add the amount they want while they are eating the soup. The veggies stay fresher tasting this way. Also serve with lime wedges, hoisin, and chili garlic sauce.

Check out the gallery page - Future Relics Gallery by Lori Buff